Select the option to Share to your Personal Computer, then select MPEG2 as your file format, using the 1440x1080i 30 fps output preset. That should be virtually identical to the video you're putting in. (You may be able to increase your output quality a bit by clicking the Advanced button at this preset and raising the video quality level from 4 to 5. You can even make this your own custom preset for future use.)
And, of course, all of this is assuming you're using the proper HDV project preset. And, if you're using the PAL TV standard, use the 25 fps option.
If you're using the proper project preset, there will be neither a red nor green line above your clips on the timeline until you add an effect to them.
Though I am a bit concerned that your computer isn't powerful enough to work with a half hour or HDV footage. You've got a gorgeous $6,000 camcorder there. Are you sure you want to be editing its video on a marginal machine using a $65 program? At the very least, it might be wise to upgrade to Premiere Pro. (Not that it's any of my business.)
Thanks Steve, your comments are very helpful. Three points:
(i) of course it's your business. I've posted on the forum to get peoples' opinions. If you think I've made a bad choice re underinvesting in PC and software I don't mind being told!
(ii) my project was rendered and burned to Blu-Ray last night as per your suggestions and looks very good when played. I used the h.264 1080i 25fps PAL format for saving the segments and then burned to Blu-Ray using the h.264 preset. Problem solved and I'll be able to do my presentation tomorrow night without worries.
(iii) you are of course correct about my PC / software combination not doing the camera justice. However, my HD video budget somewhat spiralled out of control after I bought the camera. I then decided I needed a Canon EF adapter so I could use my DSLR tele lens, then a shotgun mic, then a windshield, a decent tripod with a fluid head, a Zoom sound recorder for ambient sounds and so it goes on! So I ended up spending a lot more on the gear to acquire the footage / audio than I had originally intended. But next priority is the PC. I was wary about upgrading to Premiere Pro because of comments I had read on the DVI (Digital Video Information) network forum about difficulties with the current version (comments such as 'I'd hesitate to send you over to Premiere Pro because of all the issues many people are having with the current release'). Now I'm not in a position to comment as I don't know the product and have no direct experience of it, but there are smatterings of comments such as this in the forums which do make me worry about parting with a decent sum of money for Premiere Pro. Also I was a little nervous about whether Premiere Pro would be too complicated for me to use (I'm fine with Elements) - my perception was that it was a product for professionals rather than amateurs like me!
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Just a few comments on PrPro. The initial release of CS4 was not that great. There were some changes, and many of these did not seem to have implemented well. Two quick updates insued. Finally, CS4.1 came out, and most things seem to have been fixed, and properly. Most users on the PrPro forum indicate that they are very pleased now.
PrPro has a bit larger "footprint," than does PrE, but not that much. It will stress an underpowered computer a little more.
It is a bit different in the interface, some terms are different and their placement and implementation differs as well - still, it's very similar in theory. Many things that are covered by Presets and single buttons in PrE are doen by hand in PrPro. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because along with this manual aspect comes greater power and control.The learning curve is just locating where one looks for those controls, and learning what the name has changed to. If you did go this route, I would highly recommend Curt Wrigley's excellent Adobe Classroom in a Book PrPro CS4. In a few Projects, you'll be up to speed with the program and he takes you through so very many aspects. Unlike previous versions of this book, he spends time on the "why," and not just the "how." I feel that this was an important change in the general tone of the book.
If one was looking to upgrade their computer for NLE work, I would also recommend Harm Millaard's three articles: HERE.
Thank you. Your comments about Premiere Pro are reassuring. I don't mind going through a learning process if this results in greater flexibility in handling the project.
I think my best bet will be to invest in a better PC; to go for a 64 bit operating system to remove the memory ceiling (perhaps wait until Windows 7 is launched) and to purchase Premiere Pro at that time. Are there likely to be any significant compatibility issues with Premiere Pro and Windows 7 ?
Right now, several folk are running Win7 RC with PrPro. There were a couple of builds that did not work with Adobe programs well, but it seems that later ones corrected those issues. By the time that Win7 is released, I am certain that PrPro will run on it fine.
I'm probably going to time it for about the SP-1 release, as I will also be building a new workstation for 64-bit OS then.
I'm still on PrPro 2.0, which runs great on my XP-Pro SP3 machines. I'll go with either CS4.1, or CS5, depending on Adobe's schedule.
For me, doing most things in PrPro are a bit easier, than doing them in PrE, but then I have lived with PrPro much, much longer. The differences just seem to function better with my personal workflow. Still, I do use PrE, just to keep current in it.